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This SUV/CUV concept was introduced Sunday by Ed Welburn, GM vice president, global design. Chris reports that the 6-to-7 passenger SUV (configurable) rides on an all new platform, officially a concept, 'but "very close" to production, according to Welburn.
 
Welburn's particularly bullish on the strong face and the gentle tapering of the rear end, and mentioned numerous times that is nearly impossible to find parallel lines on this vehicle.
 
Lots more after the jump, including the official press release.

A happy Ed Welburn (above and below) with his new baby.



"Maximum Bob" Lutz lent his considerable presence to the Enclave debut.




BUICK ENCLAVE CONCEPT OFFERS NEW VISION OF BUICK STYLE

DETROIT – The Buick Enclave – a luxury SUV concept that combines the athletic proportion of a modern crossover vehicle with the romantic forms characterized by Buick’s rich design heritage – was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It provides a glimpse of a vehicle Buick intends to bring to market.
As a complement to Buick’s new luxury lineup, the Enclave delivers superior attention to detail. Engineered with an innovative level of interior flexibility, the Enclave concept vehicle has ample room for six passengers, while a skylight extends almost the entire length of the passenger compartment. A unique in-dash/in-seat/overhead DVD system allows viewing of up to four different DVD selections at once and offers passengers the ultimate in personalized, in-vehicle entertainment.

"Enclave is the full expression of Buick’s craftsmanship, comfort and technical sophistication, wrapped in an exciting, youthful form," said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, global design. "This is a new expression of Buick design. It is youthful and acknowledges the romanticism of classic Buick designs."

Enclave’s design is highly sculpted and detailed. Sculpture is seen in the unique, two-arch fenders, which flow out from the body on different planes, accenting both the vehicle’s athletic stance and lithe profile. Also, gently curving, continuous lines add characteristically Buick grace to the exterior, while providing a spacious and comfortable interior for six passengers.

"The name Enclave evokes images of style, luxury and the privacy of a quiet, protected space," said Steve Shannon, Buick general manager. "Although this is a conceptual representation, the Enclave production model will have the same graceful look and refined detail when it is introduced in the not-too-distant future."

Signature Buick cues include a waterfall grille – with "tri-shield" emblem – and portholes. The portholes, which are similar in design to the new Lucerne sedan, are mounted on the trailing edges of the sculpted hood, which forms a distinct "V" shape as it flows out from the grille and into the front fenders. The waterfall grille has a subdued, black chrome appearance, while a chrome accent strip divides the upper portion of the front fascia from the lower section, adding solidity to the vehicle’s appearance.

Enclave has a bold proportion, with a wide stance and wheels pushed to the corners. This allowed designers to "wrap" the body around the wheels, enhancing the sure-footed appearance. This is augmented by large tires and 21-inch, seven-spoke wheels.

"The unitized construction of the body structure enabled the Enclave’s tight look," said Jack Folden, exterior design director. "It not only allowed for tighter tolerances, but also enabled an optimal wheel-to-body relationship – this vehicle ‘sits’ just right."

Enclave wears a Cocoa Metallic color, with the lower section of the vehicle featuring the low-gloss, chip-resistant finish expected on a luxury SUV. The unique exterior color is accented with selective chrome trim, including the door handles and the trim that encircles the side windows. Streamlined roof rack rails also are chrome, with a design that flows into the body like the other sheet metal cues.

Craftsmanship is evidenced in the dramatic, jewel-like headlamp and taillamp housings, as well as the streamlined look of the roof rack rails and the visual heft of the twin, polished stainless steel exhaust outlets. Buick’s technical sophistication is evidenced in the lamps themselves: The headlamps feature HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lighting technology and are integrated with GM’s Adaptive Forward Lighting System, which enables the lamps to turn with the direction of the front wheels. The jewel-look taillamps are complemented by an LED-lit high-mounted stop lamp that is designed into the upper edge of the backlight.

"It is as technically sophisticated as it is beautiful," said Folden. "Enclave is the luxury SUV complement to Buick’s lineup of finely crafted luxury cars."

Engaging interior environment

Enclave’s interior environment is designed to create a personalized experience for all passengers. Six individual, leather seats – located in three seating rows – are surrounded with thoughtful amenities and luxurious detail. The large, bronze-tinted skylight extends between the front-row seats and third-row seats, warming the interior and enhancing the feeling of openness.

"Enclave has a rich, sumptuous interior that, like the exterior, reflects Buick’s precision and craftsmanship with an acknowledgement of its legacy – it’s a ‘heritage forward’ design," said Michael Burton, interior design director. "Curvaceous forms, luxurious materials and soft, inviting colors make it a warm, comfortable environment."

The curved and round elements that permeate the Enclave’s cabin hark back to the style of classic Buicks, including the air vents, door panels and instrument panel. Brushed aluminum trim on these components, as well as features such as the pedals and gauge cluster surround reflect contemporary style and reinforce the vehicle’s craftsmanship. Aluminum-trim strips also accent the carpet of the storage compartment. These elements complement a rich-looking Cocoa and Light Cashmere two-tone interior color theme, embellished with camphor burl wood.

Superior craftsmanship also is prominent in the contrasting stitching on the seats and leather-wrapped headliners. Lighting, too, was carefully selected to enhance the luxury feel while conveying warmth. A "halo" light extends from the perimeter of the skylight, while lapis blue lighting fills the footwells when the doors are opened. Tiffany-style lamps are located at the second- and third-row seats and accessory lamps are integrated as an overhead component for the second row. A Buick logo located on the inside of the power liftgate is illuminated, too.

"There is a romantic, engaging feel inside the Enclave," said Burton. "It’s also a personal environment, like that of an executive jet, with amenities that allow passengers to be more interactive during a drive."

Inventive interior amenities

The front seat seatbacks have wood-embellished, fold-down trays for the second-row passengers, as well as leather, coach-style storage satchels. The three seating rows are divided by a unique console that runs from the instrument panel to the third-row seats. Each row’s console unit includes climate control switches, audio/entertainment controls, cupholders, a storage bin and jeweled, Tiffany-style analog clock. A matching clock is mounted at the top-center of the instrument panel. A rich wood look of the console contrasts with the Cashmere-and-Cocoa color theme.

From the console controls, passengers also can select from a wide array of entertainment options delivered through four DVD screens. The front-seat passenger can flip down the front visor, which is embedded with technology that allows it to be both a mirror and a DVD screen, while third-row passengers can view a screen that flips up from their console. There also is a clever, movable second-row overhead vanity with two flip-down screens. The vanity and its flip-down screens – one for the left and right seating positions – can me moved fore and aft on an electronically controlled track. The vanity can be moved completely rearward for an unimpeded view out of the skylight. Each screen in the vehicle is capable of playing a different audio/video selection, giving the Enclave the capability of playing four DVDs simultaneously. Also, the dash-mounted navigation radio is capable of playing DVDs when the vehicle is parked. Enclave offers its passengers the ultimate in personalized, in-vehicle entertainment.

Power and efficiency
Enclave rides on a 119-inch wheelbase and is powered by a 3.6L high-feature V-6 with dual-overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Enclave’s powerful V-6 offers one of the category’s most fuel-efficient options. The engine is rated at 270 horsepower (201 kw) and is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. This luxury SUV also has all-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension.
"When produced, the Enclave will deliver the comfort, quietness, craftsmanship and quality that exemplify the new vision of Buick style," said Shannon.

BUICK ENCLAVE SPECIFICATIONS
Vehicle type:
five-door, six-passenger luxury SUV
Wheelbase (in / mm):
119 / 3023
Length (in / mm):
202.3 / 5138
Width (in / mm):
79 / 2006
Height (in / mm):
71.1 / 1807
Track (in / mm):
68.2 / 1734 front; 69.2 / 1759 rear
Engine:
3.6L high-feature V-6 w/ DOHC, variable valve timing; 270 horsepower (201 kw)
Transmission:
six-speed automatic
Suspension:
MacPherson strut, front; independent, rear
Brakes:
four-wheel disc w/ 4-piston Brembo calipers; ABS
Wheels:
chrome-finished cast aluminum, 21-in
Tires:
P265/50R21


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  • 24 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Wow! The Enclave definitely has my attention. I'm seriously considering buying one; thus I hope GM does the right thing and puts this into production by 2008. The Enclave would replace the 2004 Infiniti FX35 we currently drive. The only change I would suggest is to remove the third row seating for more storage!!!
      • 9 Years Ago
      It's beautiful, but too big although I guess Buicks are supposed to be large cars.
      I hope this isn't one of those dumb concepts that'll never be built but it's name will be slapped on some POS instead (LaCrosse, anyone?).

      John Donovan
      • 9 Years Ago
      When better cars are built, Buick will definitely build it! The interior sold me -very impressive design overall. Now, Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick? YES!
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is a really really good looking vehicle; no, this is an excellent looking vehicle and it is a Buick. A GM product, wow. I would buy one immediately if they were for sale now. It's about time GM step into the now and produce something that is upbeat and not so darn old fashioned and boring. Thumbs up for this Buick. Please, GM, Buick, or the decision makers, don't mess this up. Keep the Enclave as is; in my opinion it is one gorgeous vehicle. Good luck on the come back.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Love the interior, but, the 2x2x2 configuration with the rear console looks like it will have little or no practical cargo space.

      Exterior looks nice too, except there's a lot of Subie Tribeca in the rear end.
      • 9 Years Ago
      OMG! That's a Buick?

      I guess a better question would be, "That's a GM vehicle?"

      Another good question could be, "OK, so how are they gonna f it up?"
      • 9 Years Ago
      I currently own a BMW 5-series, and love it! But I did grow up on Buick's with the folks during elementary/high school, the Electra. wow, back in the day! Why do i like Buick? well, I have to be a fan of at least one American car brand. I don't dig Cadillac (too boxy) or other US car makers.

      I'm in my thirties and never really paid attention to Buick since the 90's (old folks car), but the new cars Buick's putting out are really nice, and after my BMW lease is up, Buicks might actually get my hard-earned dollars. Maybe i'll just own a bimmer and a buick, who knows.

      The LaCrosse is my least favorite but I love the Lucerne, and quite impressed with its shape and interior. I actually like that it's not too flashy like the 300C. I think Buick should put out a sexy mid-size, like a smaller and sportier version of the Lucerne to appeal to young professionals. I would buy something like that. It would need to come with standard sun-roof, 18" wheels, navigation display, and at least 225 hp V6 or 300+ hp V8. Add in all the current ammeneties from a loaded Lucerne, and you've got a winner. I even like the portholes. Are you listening Buick? This is a BMW owner speaking.

      Really like the Enclave, quite forward-thinking. And absolutely LOVE the Velite. Younger folks and speed-enthusiasts should love that one.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Build it!! Keep the breathing gills, keep the aluminum instrument cluster gauges, lose the metal trim around the tail lights. This will surely take a bit out of CUV sales from Lexus and Acura.

      Go GM!
      • 9 Years Ago
      GM has a bunch of info up on the Enclave now:
      http://www.buick.com/enclave. According to the GM Blog most of what we see except for the LCDs and long center console is production. They need to keep the 3 rows and just allow the rear ones to either fold away or be removed. It is fairly large, same width as a Caravan and as long as a Toyota Sequoia and longer than a Tahoe.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is the best looking Buick I have seen in my 31 years of life. It looks distinctly american and yet it is obvious that Buick intends to steal sales from the Lexus RX, Chrysler Pacifica, Acura MDX and future Lincoln MKX. I think that in packaging, style and the road presence Buick is a contender that may shock many Lexus and Acura dealers across the nation next year. I realize that this is a "concept" but even if 85% of this transmits over to the production model it will be a huge hit.

      Good bye Terazza, Ranier and Rendevouz. This makes those look like a complete joke.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This looks pretty much production ready. I think American car companies are wising up to the idea that they cannot just sell garbage anymore. Look at the Ford Edge, look at the Buick Enclave. I'm 19, and both of them are breathtaking.

      Perceptions can be wrong. GM and Ford will have a comeback.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm 20. Buicks bore me, as do most GM products. I generally dislike SUVs. But I saw this and just....holy CRAP. This is, bar none, the biggest, most impressive surprise to come out of the auto show season thusfar.
      Tough, elegant, sophisticated... very nice exterior. Then I saw the interior. WHAT THE HELL? This is a GM PRODUCT? That has to be one of the best-looking, most luxurious interiors I have ever seen on any car south of $150k. The guages look like they were designed by Audi and Aston Martin. It's amazing, more like a private jet than an SUV. I WANT ONE! BADLY. Pleasepleaseplease GM, hear our collective cry and DO NOT MESS THIS UP. Change NOTHING, you hear me? NOTHING.
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